“The shooter wins if we, who’ve been elected, change what we do just because of what he did.” - Mike Lee (R)Utah
"Obama's focus tonight was on the economy. He talked a lot about how he wants to create jobs and then announced a plan to freeze government spending. He's promising to put people to work without spending any money to do it, which is what happens after you get a visit from the president of China." –Jimmy Kimmel
Wow. The spotlight is on the Middle East, right now specifically Egypt and Yemen, two countries that are experiencing thousands of people taking to the streets in protest against the dictator in charge. In Egypt's case, Hosni Mubarak has been entrenched since 1981, and has his military behind him. To their credit, though, so far the military and police have used rubber bullets and truncheons to beat the crap out of their children. Mostly, the protesters here want Mubarak to resign and to abide by actual election results, and for more personal freedoms like a free press, and free expression of ideas and music.
In Yemen the situation is more serious, because the man in charge is more vicious and unstable. In recent years he has been fighting a secessionist group in the north, a rebellious group in the south, and then there are other groups like al Qaeda, though many feel the latter was formed just to get money and arms from the gullible Americans. Like the protesting groups in other countries, the protesters are divided on the goals they want, plus there is the fear of what might really happen if the government does fall, can they take over peacefully or will one of these militant groups take advantage of the situation?
There were protests of a sort in Afghanistan. People weren't taking to the streets, and not for fear of targeting drones, but the newly elected parliament did demand to be seated and for Hamid Karzai to open the first seccion, making it legal along with the results of the election. The picture above is one of my favorite, it's from the NY Times and is of the Afghan parliament. None of them look very happy, there is a stubborn resignation on their faces, and also there are quite a few female faces. Karzai wanted to hold off on the opening session until he could finagle some more supporters into parliament, but he lost the support of the elected Pashtuns, and now he is more isolated than ever. Look to him making more deals with the Iranians just to piss off the US, his way of saying f**k you...
The remarkable thing is how cellphones, computers, and websites like Facebook and Twitter have helped plan the protests, and then report on them while they are happening. You know that when the companies were reciting all that marketing bullshit that they would revolutionize how the web was used, that they actually would revolutionize countries. And if these peaceful revolutions succeed, we have won more points for the forces of truth and light, that we have enough educated people in the world now to throw out the old paradigm of might makes right, and the best form of government is from the few to the many. I can just see the hawks in our Pentagon and State Department looking on in frustration as they realize that their way of looking at the world is no longer viable, do they retire with some shred of dignity, or will they have to jump out the window...
What's even more remarkable, how the action of one man, driven to the end by humiliation, poverty, and the lack of justice, in ultimate frustration and despair, poured a gallon of gasoline over himself and set fire where members of the government and the whole town could see. And that act of self-immolation sparked off the imaginations of hundreds of thousands of people, who saw themselves in the flames and decided to change their world for the better. Even if they don't topple every government right now, in a few years they will become the government and they will make changes, so they have already won... or at least that's what we told each other in the '60's and 70's...
TPM reports that the FBI has been notified by Planned Parenthood that: "In the course of five days this month, eight Planned Parenthood clinics in five states and D.C. reported getting the same visit: A man said he needed treatment for a sexually transmitted disease and then, once alone with a staff member, implied that he ran an interstate sex trafficking ring that involves minors and illegal immigrants."
A spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood would not reveal the identity of the man, or men, who visited the clinics. The group does, however, suspect he has ties to Live Action, the pro-life, anti-Planned Parenthood group run by O'Keefe associate Lila Rose.
Live Action's mission is to stop abortion, and its favored tool is undercover videos which the group says proves Planned Parenthood's "willingness to repeatedly tell medically inaccurate misinformation," "willingness to repeatedly violate mandatory reporting laws for statutory rape" and "racism."
Rose, who runs the group, worked with O'Keefe on her first series of undercover Planned Parenthood videos in 2006 after the two met at the Leadership Institute. Neither Rose nor O'Keefe returned calls from TPM for comment. Rose told the Associated Press that Planned Parenthood's letter is "very interesting."
"She didn't confirm her involvement in the incidents, but said, "The story that speaks loudest will be in the evidence," she said. "I can't comment until we release the visual evidence." According to the LA Times, Ms Rose is: "the UCLA student who poses as a pregnant teen with a 31-year-old boyfriend to show that Planned Parenthood does not always follow statutory rape reporting requirements."
If these stories of Lila and James are true, looks like they will be getting to punk some prisoners in the federal pen in the near future... oh, those wacky kids, if only some responsible adult had read them the riot act when they were pulling their lame stunts against ACORN, but, that's the problem when you hang out with other extreme-repubs...